Kobe Bryant died on January 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash at the age of 41.
His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, also died in the crash.
The accident occurred while they were on their way to Gianna’s basketball game at his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California.
The helicopter crashed into the hillside due to foggy conditions, killing everyone on board, including the pilot, Ara Zobayan, and seven other passengers.
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Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash – Overview
|January 26, 2020
|Passenger: Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester Pilot: Ara Zobayan
|Island Express Helicopters
|Pilot spatial disorientation and loss of control due to flying into clouds/fog
|– Excessive airspeed
– Somatogravic illusion experienced by pilot
|Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for a basketball game
|National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
|Final Report Released
|February 9, 2021
What happened in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant?
On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
The helicopter was headed to Gianna’s basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California.
The crash occurred due to foggy conditions, causing the helicopter to crash into the hillside.
The victims included:
- Kobe Bryant (retired professional basketball player)
- Gianna Bryant (his 13-year-old daughter)
- Ara Zobayan (pilot)
- John Altobelli (baseball coach)
- Keri Altobelli (John Altobelli’s wife)
- Alyssa Altobelli (John Altobelli’s daughter)
- Christina Mauser (assistant coach for Gianna’s basketball team)
- Sarah Chester (mother of Gianna’s teammate Payton Chester)
- Payton Chester (Gianna’s teammate)
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is expected to release its final report on the incident on February 9, 2021, including a proximate cause and subsequent safety recommendations.
What was the cause of the pilot error in the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash?
The cause of the pilot error in the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash was flying into the clouds, where the pilot became disoriented and lost control of the helicopter.
The pilot, Ara Zobayan, violated flight rules by flying into the clouds, which led to his spatial disorientation and confusion about the helicopter’s orientation.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that Zobayan’s decision to fly into the clouds was the most significant reason for the crash.
The helicopter was mechanically sound, and air traffic controllers did not contribute to the crash.
The NTSB found that Zobayan made several errors in the minutes and hours preceding the crash, including flying at excessive airspeed and losing the ability to control the helicopter after losing visual contact with the ground.
Zobayan may have also experienced somatogravic illusion, which causes a pilot to mistake acceleration for a climb.